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An alum of late-'80s/early-'90s golden age hip-hop, vicious Queensbridge lyricist Blaq Poet gradually slipped into his reputable underground status as the '90s and 2000s progressed onwards. Known then as MC Poet, he debuted in the mid-'80s with the ill-befitting dance-rap single "The Wopp Sensation." However, he regained ground when he embroiled himself in the Bronx-Queens feud between Boogie Down Productions and Marley Marl's Juice Crew, unleashing the KRS-One dis record, "Beat You Down," in 1987. A few years later, he teamed up with producer and turntablist DJ Hot Day to form the duo PHD; the two recorded for Tuff City, releasing the 12" "I'm Flipping" (1991) and the overindulgently violent and boastful album Without Warning (1991), which contained early guest raps by Queensbridge notables Havoc (of Mobb Deep) and Cormega.
Aside from another PHD single in 1995 on Tuff City, "The Grand P.O.," Poet retreated during the middle of the '90s, save for a few mixtape appearances here and there. But in the late '90s, he helped put together the five-person, all-Queensbridge rap group Screwball, who enjoyed beats from the likes of producer legends Pete Rock and DJ Premier. The group's label, Tommy Boy, had some issues with their rough-and-tumble rap music, especially considering their 1999 singles, "Who Shot Rudy?" (as in at-the-time New York mayor Rudy Giuliani) and "F.A.Y.B.A.N." (an acronym for "F*ck All Y'all B*tch Ass Ni**as"). Regardless, Tommy Boy issued Screwball's full-length debut, Y2K, in 2000. Since then, Poet frequently worked with DJ Premier and joined the roster of Premier's Year Round Records as a solo artist. A number of mixtapes and 12"s were issued before his first LP, Rewind: Deja Screw, hit shelves in 2006.